Background: Hypertension is one of the most frequently diagnosed chronic medical conditions in the United States and imposes a substantial financial and social burden on Americans. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the cost of health care resources for hypertensive patients taking analgesics stratified by having controlled versus uncontrolled hypertension. Methods: This was a retrospective, database analysis of data for managed-care patients in Maryland and Washington, DC, recorded from February 1, 1999, to July 31, 2001. Hypertensive patients who were taking analgesics were stratified by their hypertension control status using a claims-based algorithm. Annualized costs and differences in annualized costs calculated for the periods before and after the initiation of analgesics were compared by patient hypertension control status. Results: Of the 9805 patients in the study (mean [SD] age, 49.8 [12.04] years), 2523 (25.73%) were categorized as having uncontrolled hypertension. The mean total annualized costs differed significantly between the controlled and uncontrolled hypertension groups by $2568 (P <0.001). The annualized costs for emergency-department visits and hospitalizations for uncontrolled hypertensive patients exceeded those for controlled hypertensive patients by 9.3% and 28.0%, respectively. The differences between the postindex- and preindex-period costs for health care resources were $1972 with controlled hypertension and $2961 with uncontrolled hypertension (P <0.001). The results of linear regression, after adjustments were made for preindex costs and other covariates, indicated that patients with uncontrolled hypertension had significantly increased billed annualized costs (P <0.001). Conclusions: These data suggest that the costs of health care resources were significantly higher for analgesic users with uncontrolled hypertension than for analgesic users with controlled hypertension. A considerable proportion of the cost differential was directly attributable to hypertension-related treatment care.
- Managed care
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